BUTTE — In an eight-to-four vote, Butte-Silver Bow commissioners again denied plans to demolish two buildings belonging to Butte’s rescue mission.
The Butte Rescue Mission remains committed to operations, but if the commissioners continue to shoot down the plan to demolish what was once the Butte Rescue Mission Thrift Store, they worry about potential funding.
Bill McGladdery, president of the Butte Rescue Mission, said that because commissioners and curators are extending the demolition of thrift store buildings, donors have withdrawn their donations, which is the mission’s main source of funding.
“For this to fall back on mission, it means less funding for homeless services in Butte and more homeless people trying to survive on the streets,” McGladdery said.
Opponents of the demolition say they don’t want to be seen as villains, but McGladdery says the Tories aren’t the only ones with a voice.
“The homeless are also your constituents and I thought we should just fill up the vans today on the rescue mission and bring those voters here so you can see who impacts your decisions,” said McGladdery said.
Repairing the building could cost up to $500,000, which the Rescue mission doesn’t have. Right now the responsibility lies with the rescue mission, so if anything were to happen inside that building, they would be held accountable. General Manager JP Gallagher said if Butte-Silver Bow purchased the building, the building would still be unsafe and the city would be held liable.
“No one in this community wants to see buildings demolished, but there are times when it has to happen.” Gallagher said.
Shawn Fredrickson, Butte-Silver Bow Commissioner for District 1, said voting to approve the demolition would set a dangerous precedent.
“I’m afraid this will set some sort of precedent where the county buys buildings to tear them down. That’s how it is,” Fredrickson said.
In a statement, Butte Rescue Mission Development Director Amy Kroon wrote, “…our funding is impacted by decisions made regarding the thrift store. We continue to implore the community to support our services as we navigate this complicated and challenging situation.”
There are no plans to sell the building at this time. They are looking for offers that will process the reduction within 60 days and are not dependent on funding.